Sharia Watch 1 [04 Jun 2002]
- SHARIA WATCH 1 : a collection of recent news articles on Sharia,
for research purposes only.[*] [dd. 04 Jun 2002],
posted weekly to
Germany (2) - United Kingdom (2) - Turkey (1) - Lybia (1) - Egypt (1)
- Jordan (2) - Nigeria (15) - Bahrein (2) - Dubai (5) - Saudi Arabia
(5) - Iran (3) - Georgia (1) - Russia (1) - Uzbekistan/Tajikistan/
Kyrgyzstan/Kazakhstan (1) - Kashmir (1) - Pakistan (5) - Afghanistan
(1) - Malaysia (1).
" According to the procedural law of Islam, the sole
responsibility for proving the offence of fornication and adultery
lies with the person who makes the accusation. " [In search of
justice]. [Nigeria :] An Islamic court today freed a young mother
facing death by stoning to allow her to care for her child, raising
hopes she would be cleared on appeal. Amina Lawal, 30, will be allowed
to return home to her village and stay there until January 2004
whatever the result of her appeal, the court ruled, fixing its next
hearing for July 8 2002.
Security Agency Warns That Terrorist Threat Remains High
The interior minister also said that in addition to the
Islamic extremist groups listed in the report, Turkey's Milli Gorus
organization is causing concern among German authorities. Milli Gorus
is the largest Muslim organization in Germany, with about 27,500
members. Schily said the group aims to spread its religious-based
political views throughout Europe.
Guenther Beckstein, interior minister of the German state of Bavaria,
told reporters in Munich he is also concerned about Milli Gorus.
Beckstein said the group should be banned because it wants to impose
Islamic Sharia law on Muslims living in Germany.
The comments in Germany followed a series of warnings in the United
States last week that new Al-Qaeda attacks could be expected. U.S.
Vice President Dick Cheney said the probability of a new attack was
"very, very concrete." However he added that the information gathered
by U.S. intelligence agencies was not clear as to where or when the
attacks might take place. Similar warnings came from the FBI and other
U.S. security groups.
Talibankers keep abreast of options
Visiting the Frankfurt headquarters of Commerzbank could be a
risky business these days.
Once you have got past all the pleading German businessmen trying to
excuse their bad debts, you might bump into a small bearded fellow
called Tahmaseb Mazaheri, the finance minister of Iran. He is the
bank's latest customer.
Commerzbank is helping him evade the strictures of sharia law (which
forbids usury) and all that unhelpful talk of an Axis of Evil from
President George W Bush by arranging a potential £300m loan in the
Nobody can accuse Commerzbank of being sniffy about its customers.
Apart from the Holy Islamic Republic, it has lined up other upmarket
clients. It is, for instance, one of the biggest lenders to the
Its customers include Beate Uhse, the world's largest manufacturer of
sex aids, Private Media of Barcelona and, of course, cuddly Richard
Desmond, publisher of Big Ones and Asian Babes and generous donor to
the Labour Party. Commerzbank arranged a £90m loan for him to buy
forgotten newspaper group.
UNITED KINGDOM (2)
Fundamentalist named by FBI recruited in UK
Last night Omar Bakri said that he and Mr Soubra were friends
who had first met four years ago. "This man has been an active member
of our movement," he said. "He came to the UK from the Lebanon. He
approached me after I gave a talk in Luton and I subsequently
sponsored his studies at the London School of Sharia. He said he
wanted to know about Islam.
"He stayed in Britain for two years before going back to Beirut. The
next time I heard from him he was on an aircraft engineering course in
Phoenix. He was still committed to our group and set up a branch for
us. Until two weeks ago I was in regular contact with him. Now we have
While at the London School of Sharia, Mr Soubra lived in Shadwell,
east London, and attended the East London Mosque.
In the memo, Mr Williams said that he was conducting an investigation
into the Islamic Army of the Caucasus and "Osama bin Laden and
Al-Muhajiroun supporters attending civil aviation universities and
colleges in Arizona".
Mr Soubra, the memo said, was a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical
University in Prescott, Arizona. He has been interviewed at least
twice by the FBI. The first time was in April 2000, when investigators
said that they were concerned that he had visited a shooting range
with another Muslim, a veteran of Islamic jihads in the Balkans and
Within hours of the September 11 attacks, agents questioned Mr Soubra
and fellow students at Embry Riddle again. He was not charged with any
crimes. Mr Soubra's whereabouts are not known, although he is not
Koran's attitude to homosexuality is no worse than the Bible's
Nick Allen (letter, 9 May) is right to suggest that the Koran's
attitude to homosexuality is no worse than the Bible's. However, the
reality is that gay activists have every reason to "pick on Islam".
While it is the Christian right that spreads Biblically-inspired hate-
speech, virtually every mainstream Islamic school of thought and
jurisprudence considers gay acts deviant and unlawful; and it is
Sharia law that puts the hate into practice in all nine countries
where homosexual acts are subject to the death penalty, and in the
three where homosexuals are known to have been executed in the past 12
years. The Muslim gay rights group Al-Fatiha estimates that 4,000
homosexuals have been executed in post- revolutionary Iran.
Although not illegal in Egypt, five homosexuals were recently found
guilty of "sexual practices contrary to Islam"and jailed for three
years. One London-based Islamist organisation has condemned Egypt for
failing to deliver the death penalty. A senior cleric at a London
mosque has advocated the execution of gay males over the age of ten
and life imprisonment for lesbians; another has indicated that
homosexuals must be taken to the highest mountain and thrown off.
Gay people - and gay Muslims most of all - have plenty of reason to be
Turkish Fataws Say Hijab is One of Women's Rights
In what the media considered an attempt to revive
fundamentalism in Turkey while others see it as an activation to the
Islamic interpretative judgment activities (Ijtihad), frozen for 700
years, the religious consultative council in Turkey Saturday, May18 ,
declared 39 religious decrees, Fatwas.
As Islamic interpretative judgment activities (Ijtihad) had been
frozen for 700 years, the Islamic council met to settle certain issues
facing Islam in Turkey in modern times.
The council, in a session headed by Mohamed Fawzi Yalmaz and attended
by 100 religious scholars, released a final official statement
concerning different controversial issues in the Turkish society and
These fatwas include the refusal of the council to allow the calling
for prayer (Azan), to be in Turkish instead of Arabic, considering
wearing scarves, Hijab a religious matter and one of the personal
rights and freedoms of women, and joining daily prayers to be 3 times
a day instead of 5 .
The meeting, which was held to discuss religious issues for the first
time, focused on four main topics: correct understanding of religious
scripts, issues related to women, pilgrimage and other rituals, in
addition to opinions and controversial fatwas that affect the society.
One of the fatwas included in the final statement emphasized the
equality between men and women, as it states that equality between
both sexes should be implemented in education and work opportunities,
in addition to the must of removing all obstacles disabling women to
enjoy such equality.
Using Turkish language in prayers was also among the issues the
council allowed, as it said there was no harm done to rituals when
done with the mother language of a person (in case he/she doesn't
Arabic with a special stress on the necessity of learning Arabic
Reducing the prayers to 3 was refused by the council. I don't know
where such idea came from, prayers in Islam are five, said Yalmaz.
The council said it is acceptable in Islamic rulings joining two
prayers under certain circumstances, such as traveling or other agreed
upon excuses. The Noon (Zuhr) and Afternoon (`Asr) prayers can be
joined, as well as the Sunset (Magrib) and Evening (`Isha)
Nevertheless, Hussein Khatami, a law professor, said it is not
permitted to join Dawn and Noon prayers, as joining prayer is confined
to certain cases in a very special way stated in Shariah (Islamic
Hareet daily newspaper said these fatwas can be considered a
revolution in women lives.
These fatwas marked the beginning of a new era of enlightenment in
Turkey, said Saleh Ak Demir, university professor.
4 Libyans sentenced to 10 years in prison and amputations for robbing
Four Libyans convicted of armed robbery received 10 year
prison sentences Thursday and will have their right hands and left
legs amputated, Libya's state-run news agency, JANA, reported.
A court found the four guilty of robbing a Chinese oil exploration
company on April 30. They were arrested within 48 hours of the crime,
The four men, whose names were not released, attacked the company's
headquarters during the night, stole an unspecified amount of money
and drove away. It was unclear where the company was located.
Police and security forces chased the culprits and arrested one.
During questioning, police learned the identities of the other three
and arrested them the same day, national Libyan television reported
Libya approved hand and leg amputations, permissible under Sharia, or
Islamic law, for stealing two years ago.
A Fatwa on Piracy
In February, the Business Software Alliance, the group that
represents Microsoft, Adobe, and other software makers concerned about
piracy, signed up another unusual partner -- the grand muftis at Al
Azhar in Cairo. The highest religious authority in Sunni Islam, Sheikh
Ibrahim Atta Allah, issued a fatwa, or edict, against piracy. "Piracy
is the worst type of theft and is prohibited by Islam," Atta Allah
Not all piracy measures call on higher powers. After nearly a decade
of U.S. persuasion and $7 million in technical IP assistance, a new IP
law is under debate in the Egypt parliament. The law's authors hope
that it will pass before the People's Assembly begins its summer
recess on June 30.
Awqaf minister says premarital testing poses no contradiction to
Islamic Sharia http://www.jordantimes.com/Tue/homenews/homenews7.htm
Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Ahmad Hilayel said on
Monday that a recent proposal adopted by an Upper House committee to
make medical premarital tests obligatory in the Kingdom did not
contradict Islamic Sharia.
The Senate's Health, Environment and Social Development
Committee recommended on Sunday that legislation be drafted making
premarital blood tests mandatory in order to avoid genetic diseases,
The committee has reached a conclusion that there is an urgent need to
draft legislation which obliges couples to undergo a blood test before
marriage to determine if they have thalassemia or not," the
committee's rapporteur, former Health Minister Senator Aref Batayneh,
Palestinian suicide attacks were an inefficient weapon against Israeli
Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher said in an interview
Monday that Palestinian suicide attacks were an inefficient weapon
against Israeli occupation, adding that an Arab peace plan was a
better tool. "These operations have lost all international support for
the Arabs, who are the only countries in the world to support them,"
Moasher told the Jordanian independent weekly Al-Hadath.
"We must be clear: our goal is the end of the occupation, not
(anti-Israeli) resistance or even the intifada," he said of the
Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule launched in September 2000.
"The question that must now be raised is whether these (suicide)
operations have served the Palestinian cause rather than if these
operations were justified or conform with Sharia (Islamic law),"
Moasher also accused Israel of having exploited the September 11
terror attacks on the United States "to tell the world that it was
fighting terrorism like the United States". "At the same time we
(Arabs) kept silent and the result was that many countries consider
that we were wrong and that (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon was
right," in trying to eradicate suicide bombings, Moasher said.
Niger-Delta Breeds Bread And Butter Politicians
Why did Obasanjo not drag the issue of sharia to the court? In
fact, the present Attorney-General has even declared sharia illegal.
But President Obasanjo will not do that because he is afraid of
Northerners because, they will throw him out of Aso Rock the day he
attempts it. They told him that the day he insults their religion, he
will regret ever thinking of becoming Nigeria's two-times ruler. The
Niger/Delta is supposed to be the deciding factor in this country but,
unfortunately, we breed bread and butter political class. So, we are
not respected by other regions and this make my heart bleed. So, the
issue of resources control is bigger than Obasanjo and this
The fundamentalist Taleban, ousted from power in December following a
U.S. air offensive, imposed only a strict interpretation of Islamic
Sharia Law. Criminals were as often executed, stoned or buried under a
bulldozed wall as they were jailed.
It is unclear to what extent Islamic law will now apply.
Since the appointment of the UN-backed interim government of Hamid
Karzai, accused criminals have simply been thrown into prisons which
are critically overcrowded.
Stinking of urine, crammed with up to 50 inmates per cell and so
filthy that it makes your scalp crawl, Kabul's main detention center
was never meant to hold convicted criminals, only the accused.
"Most of the cases that we have studied so far are crimes caused by
poverty," Big told Reuters. "Most of the people are jobless and those
who have a job earn very little." The bulk of the prisoners are
thieves or pickpockets. Some have been arrested for drinking alcohol
or smoking hashish. Most of the women detained in a separate block are
accused of "moral crimes" -- basically meaning adultery.
The commission checks every prisoner on its list against the decree's
Sharia is anti-democratic - Daily Champion (Lagos) - June 2, 2002
Some States adopted other means of governing themselves
setting aside the federal constitution thereby making nonsense of your
acclaimed Presidency. Human rights are seriously abused all in the
name of Sharia; many are physically maltreated, amputated etc we even
have people on death row, for having voluntary sex in a democratic
Some states have their own law enforcement agencies carrying out
jungle justice in the full glare of the public. An example that comes
to mind is that of a robbery suspect called Derico. Despite the
insistence of the Inspector General of Police that he be brought to
Abuja and given a fair trial in the court of law, he was killed in
cold blood by a vigilante group called Bakassi in Onitsha main market.
Under what constitution are they operating? The Nigerian constitution?
I hope not.
Sokoto State Governor May Face Anti-Graft Panel - May 31, 2002
The PDP chairman alleged that the government did not only
inflate the cost of the plane, but also bought it against the "wishes
of majority of the people of the state, who had earlier told him they
did not need an aircraft". Alleging that Governor Bafarawa has since
three years been squandering the resources of the people, he insisted
that "the plane is just for the governor's leisure and pleasure and to
the detriment of the suffering masses in Sokoto State".
He lamented what he saw as misuse of power and religion by the
governor, alleging that "Sharia is being used in the state to oppress
opponents". He, however, reiterated the resolve of the opposition to
seek redress and report formally to the Anti-Graft Commission.
Spread of Sharia law does not threaten Nigeria, says President
Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria's President, has said he does not
see the adoption of Sharia law by a dozen states in Nigeria as a
threat, amid international pressure on him to amend laws calling for
execution by stoning for Islamic crimes such as adultery.
Now with more harsh Sharia punishments pending, including stoning,
whipping, amputation and execution, and the prospect of Sharia being
extended to at least one state in the predominantly Christian south,
the issue might tear the country apart.
"To say Sharia must be removed from Islam is like saying that the 10
commandments must be removed from Christianity," President Obasanjo, a
devout Christian, told The Independent. "Sharia is not a new thing and
it's not a thing to be afraid of. What we need is justice."
Sharia law had been the experience in parts of the country "since time
immemorial", he said, adding that the federal government would not
dispute the rights of states to use it.
On 25 March, an Islamic appeal court dismissed Safiya Husaini's
sentence of stoning to death for adultery on technical grounds, after
it provoked global outrage.
But last month Amina Lawal, 30, became the second woman to be
sentenced to death for adultery when an Islamic court in northern
Katsina convicted her. The mother of three has appealed.
The Sharia issue was under the spotlight again last week when an
Islamic court in Jigawa sentenced Sarimu Mohammed, 50, to death by
stoning for raping a nine-year-old girl the first death sentence
imposed on a man for rape or adultery under re-introduced Sharia law.
Mohammed, who was caught by neighbours, also got 100 strokes of the
cane and a fine.
In Bauchi, Adama Yunusa, who is 19 and pregnant, was sentenced to 100
lashes for having sex with her fiancé. And earlier this month
clerics in Oyo, in the mostly Christian south, said they would apply
Sharia for the first time to civil matters, such as divorce and land
disputes, involving Muslims there.
President Obasanjo's federal government, mindful of the danger of
fanning religious tensions, is attempting to grapple with the Sharia
problem through compromise. He said problems arising out of applying
"ordinary" and Sharia law side by side could be dealt with
constitutionally, by requiring states to impose equal sentences for
equal offences nationwide.
Last month, the Justice Minister declared certain sentencing aspects
of the Sharia system unconstitutional and the federal government has
asked states using it to modify their laws. Muslim leaders in these
states indicated that they intend to ignore the decision.
Sharia was not a problem when practised by genuine Islamic adherents,
President Obasanjo insisted. "Only when it is political it becomes
something to worry about." But everything will be political in the
year leading to elections in April 2003 and in Nigeria politics tends
to spark violence.
I'm Nobody's Boy - Governor Makarfi (Kaduna State) - May 31, 2002
Some Muslim groups are of the opinion that what you have in
Kaduna is Sharia on paper; that the courts are not working. When will
the courts start working?
I think if not for the problem that the House went into, there was the
procedure code because the other courts have their procedure codes,
which is the criminal procedure codes. You need procedure codes for
some aspects of the sharia courts and I was made to believe that the
house was to pass the bill on that procedure codes, but then they had
problem. I think this is the only aspect. But you see, it is not an
issue which, will affect what you are seeing on ground.
Sharia is personal; in some places, it can be communal, but generally,
it is a personal issue. Even if you have a procedure code, it is not
going to change the demography of Kaduna. Already, those issues of
demography, what you can do somewhere and what you cannot do somewhere
have already been put in place by the local government bye laws. That
is not even an aspect waiting for the state government and that was
the first thing we did, to delegate such powers to the local
governments. They deal with issues that affect going about on
day-to-day basis. That has nothing to do with what will come from the
state government. In any case, other cases have gone to sharia courts
and they have been sitting.
Again, the funding of the judiciary which also got affected by the
judgement of the Supreme Court has also brought some delays. It is now
that we know that even their funds will come through us and we will
give them their funding and we have asked them to meet and know the
amount accruing to them and the distribution, so that they can do
whatever they have to do in terms of their programmes. The point is
that the governor must not have chosen any particular system as his
baby. All the systems are the babies of the governor and we must give
them fair and equal terms of operating. The various chief executives:
the president of the customary courts, Grand Khadis for the sharia
courts and chief judges of the common law courts. The governor does
not determine the pattern of operation of any particular court.
Elections 2003: Sharia Prevents Me From Declaring - Sokoto - May 30,
Governor Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa of Sokoto State has said
that in accordance with sharia which prohibits deliberate aspiration
to leadership, he will not declare his intention to re-contest for
governorship of the state.
"I believe and respect the teaching and practice of the divine law.
Therefore, I will not declare whether to contest for the seat or not,
but allow people to judge my performance to determine if am eligible
or not," he said.
Bafarawa, who was reacting to questions during a radio phone-in
programme of the state radio to commemorate his third year in office,
further disclosed that Sharia did not require one to parade oneself to
lead people, but to be voluntarily asked by the people to do so,
"because of the trust they have in you, you can then be obliged to
answer them," he added.
He further stated that he personally presented the problems of
dilapidated roads at Funtua, Gusau to Sokoto road to the federal
government but nothing has been done. Similarly that of Sokoto,
Tambuwal and Jega federal highways which are also in serious neglect.
2003: People'll Determine My Fate, Says Bafarawa (Sokoto)
Amnesty death by stoning appeal (Katsina State) May 30 2002
Amnesty International is fighting against the execution of a
Muslim woman in Nigeria who has been sentenced to death by stoning by
a Sharia court.
As Amina Lawal,30, faces the Upper Sharia Court of Funtua, Katsina
State, on June 3, 2002 to present her appeal against her sentence,
Amnesty International is urging the Nigerian government to ensure that
she is not executed under any circumstance.
Amina Lawal was charged with adultery and sentenced to stoning to
death on March 22, 2002 by a Sharia Court in Katsina State in northern
Ms Lawal allegedly confessed to having had a child while divorced.
Pregnancy outside of marriage constitutes sufficient evidence for a
woman to be convicted of adultery according to the new Sharia-based
penal code for Muslims, introduced in Katsina State.
The man named as the father of her baby girl reportedly denied having
sex with her and his confession was enough for the charges against him
to be discontinued.
Amina Lawal did not have a lawyer during her first trial, when the
judgement was passed. But she has now filed an appeal against her
sentence with the help of a lawyer hired by a pool of Nigerian human
rights and women`s rights organisations.
The Amnesty International Merton group has an online petition, which
is calling for an end to inhumane and cruel sentences in Nigeria, and
for its government to ensure human rights for all its citizens. The
petition which is on Amina website has secured 5,430 signatures from
74 different countries : http://www.mertonai.org/amina
In Death's Shadow June 2, 2002
Bakori sharia court in Katsina state sentences Aminat Lawal to
death for adultery, promising to stir up, once again, another round of
controversy over this system of justice
Aminat Lawal, 25, from Kurami village in Bakori local government area
of Katsina State , is frightened at the sight of a new visitor in her
house. Newswatch gathered that Lawal has been in this traumatic
condition since March 22, when Bakori sharia court sentenced her to
death by stoning for committing adultery and having a child outside
wedlock. According to the ruling, Lawal would be executed in six
months' time when she must have weaned her baby.
Yahaya Mohammed, the man Lawal claimed made her pregnant was
discharged on the ground that she failed to produce four witnesses to
support her claim. But Lawal has appealed to the Ofa sharia appellate
court in Funtua local government area of the state against the ruling.
Lawal refused to talk to Newswatch on her death penalty because
Saudatu Shehu Mahdi, secretary-general member, board of trustee on
women's rights advancement and protection alternative, WRAPA, and her
lawyer, had instructed her not to talk to the press.
Kurami Lawal, 54, her father, has been heart-broken since Lawal's
death sentence. When Newswatch asked, through a guide, what he would
do if the appellate sharia court upholds the lower court's ruling,
Kurami only lowered his head to fight back tears but remained silent.
Aminat, Newswatch learnt, is his only daughter.
Following the death sentence passed on Lawal, visitors flock Kurami.
Some members of international organisations, women non-governmental
organisations, NGOs, and journalists have been there. A register has
been opened at the house of Lawal for those who want to join the
campaign to save her. Those who have signed up include WRAPA, Social
Justice for Women, Ewa Ewart, producer world current affairs,BBC;
Johannes Dieterich, Druck-UND Verlash aus Frankfurt ; Josphine Kamara,
Voice of America; Aminu Abubakar, Agence France-Presse and Mike Ugo,
Pan African News agency.
But a sharia faithful who spoke on conditions of anonymity, believes
that the battle to save Lawal would be lost because Muslims had made
up their minds to execute Lawal at the appointed time "in order not to
allow Christians mess up sharia."
But a top government official who is a Muslim and who does not want
his name in print attributed Lawal's death sentence to fanaticism. He
told Newswatch that "a devout Muslim who really wants to obey the
teachings of Prophet Muhammed would not delight in killing people for
committing a crime." He cited Prophet Muhammed's reluctance in
executing a woman who reported herself to him for committing adultery.
Joseph Maidugu of the mass communication department, University of
Maiduguri , said the death penalty on Lawal was "shocking." He
appealed to local and international groups to embark on another
massive campain to save Lawal from the death sentence. Will Lawal be
saved? No one knows yet.
Amina Lawal - Another woman facing death by stoning
Amnesty International reports on Africa 2001
In Nigeria, deaths sentences and cruel degrading punishments
were handed down under new legislation introduced in several northern
states based on Islamic sharia law, the report said.
Sharia court frees Nigerian mum pending stoning appeal - 3 June 2002
An Islamic court today freed a young mother facing death by
stoning to allow her to care for her child, raising hopes she would be
cleared on appeal.
Amina Lawal, 30, will be allowed to return home to her village and
stay there until January 2004 whatever the result of her appeal, the
court ruled, fixing its next hearing for July 8.
If her adultery conviction is overturned it will mark the end of the
second stoning case to spark controversy in northern Nigeria since 12
states imposed Islamic law, the Sharia.
If the Upper Sharia Court in Funtua, in Katsina State, upholds her
conviction, in 18 months she will become the first Nigerian woman to
be stoned to death since the code was reintroduced.
Lawal's defence counsel interpreted the court's decision to allow her
to leave a women's home and return to her village with her
six-month-old daughter Wasila as a positive sign.
"We are optimistic our appeal will be successful," he told AFP after
the hearing. "I don't entertain any fears that my client will not be
free at the end of the trial."
In March, a second Nigerian woman who was convicted for adultery and
sentenced to be stoned, 35-year-old Safiya Huseini, was freed on a
technicality on appeal after an international outcry.
Lawal first married at the age of 14. She was divorced for the second
time in June 2000 and started a relationship with a man in December
The relationship lasted until last November, when she gave birth to
Under Sharia law as it is interpreted in northern Nigeria, a woman who
divorces and subsequently has a sexual relationship with another man
is guilty of adultery, even if the man is unmarried.
Lawal's boyfriend was not prosecuted because investigators could not
find four male witnesses to say they saw him having sex with her, as
required by Sharia's tough burden of proof.
Adultery is punishable by stoning under Sharia.
With state elections looming in August, it is feared Lawal's case
could reignite a row over Sharia law which has triggered bloody
sectarian riots in the past. [By Aminu Abubakar].
50-yr-old rapist to die by stoning [Jigawa State]
A Sharia court in Dutse has sentenced 50-year-old Sarimu
Muhammad to death by stoning for raping a nine-year-old girl.
Muhammad, who is married and has two children will in addition,
receive 100 strokes of the cane and pay N10,000.00 fine as
compensation to the victim.
The convict who hails from Barranda village in Dutse Local Government
Area, had been charged with raping minor, contrary to Section 129 of
the Sharia Act. The offence carries a death penalty.
At the sitting of the court on April 25, the convict had admitted to
committing the offence even after the judge had cautioned him on the
implication and nature of the penalty.
In his judgement, Alhaji Isa Gantsa said he was satisfied with the
voluntary confession of the accused and found him guilty as charged.
He, however, gave Muhammad 30 days within which to appeal against the
ruling if he so wished.
The girl's screams attracted the attention of neighbours who
caught the man in the act.
Sharia States Should Modify Criminal Laws [Moslem discrimination]
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice
(AGF), Mr. Kanu Agabi, SAN, has told all governors operating the
Sharia legal system to modify all criminal laws of their states to
exclude imposition of punishments that may infringe on the rights of
Moslems to equality with other citizens under section 42(1)(a) of the
The minister in a release yesterday, further stated that equality
before the law means that Moslems should not be discriminated against,
and this implies that they must not be subjected to a punishment more
severe than would be imposed on other Nigerians for the same offence.
The statement by Agabi seems to be a departure from the posture of the
Federal Government in the past which bordered on aloofness. In
response to calls for a categorical response of the government to
Sharia first proclaimed by Zamfara State in 1999, for instance,
President Olusegun Obasanjo had repeatedly said in the past that "the
issue will whittle away."
Most of the states in the North have already adopted Sharia.
The Justice Minister's note of caution is coming barely five days to
the expected judgement of the Sokoto State Sharia Appeal Court on the
appeal by Safiya Husseini- Tungar Tudu, against death sentence by
stoning for adultery. The case has attracted global spotlight as well
as international solidarity for Safiya.
Clamour for Sharia Law in Yorubaland Deepens [South West Nigeria]
The inauguration of a non-governmental Sharia court by the Oyo
State Muslim community in Ibadan on May 1, 2002 has clearly
demonstrated Yoruba Muslims' support for Sharia and underscored their
well-known resolve to also have the Islamic legal system adopted by
state governments in the South West.
Equally, the bold non-governmental Sharia initiative has finally torn
apart the earlier preterous claims by the Yoruba socio-political
organisation, Afenifere that the entire Yoruba people are against the
adoption of full-scale Sharia in the country.
For discerning observers, the establishment of the Independent Sharia
Implementation Panel (ISIP) in Ibadan by Yoruba Muslims did not come
as a surprise. Ever since the adoption of full-scale Sharia in Zamfara
State about three years ago, conscious Yoruba Muslim youths under the
auspices of the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations
(NACOMYO), have been mounting relentless pressure on their various
state governments to adopt at least the civil aspect of Sharia law and
create Sharia courts to cater for the interest of Yoruba Muslims who
form the majority population in Oyo, Ogun, Osun and Lagos States, and
account for at least thirty per cent of the population in Ekiti and
NACOMYO national president and member of the Oyo State branch of the
Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria, Alhaji Ishaq Kunle Sani,
confirmed to Weekly Trust that the Oyo State Muslim community had
resorted to the establishment of a non-governmental Sharia court after
spirited attempts to persuade the state government to recognise the
right of Muslims by promulgating a Sharia bill.
He lamented that even the private Sharia bill which had been submitted
by the Muslim community to the Oyo State House of Assembly over two
years ago, was neither mentioned on the floor of the House nor passed
into law despite the fact that the Speaker, Alhaji Ashimiyu Alarape,
and a majority of members are Muslims.
Weekly Trust gathered that the parliamentarians could not summon the
courage to deliberate on and pass the bill into law because of the
alleged warning issued by Afenifere in the heat of the Sharia crisis
that no governor or state house of assembly in Yorubaland should
entertain any request for the implementation of the Islamic law in the
Alhaji Sani corroborated the allegation when he declared that the
parliamentarians had chickened out "in order to please their Afenifere
lords," adding that Afenifere has been hiding under the canopy of
purported Yoruba irredentism to suppress Islam and Muslims in the
Professor Hussain Abdukareem of the Lagos State University Teaching
Hospital (LASUTH) who was the chairman at the formal inauguration of
the ISIP also shares this view. In his speech at the occasion, he
lambasted Afenifere saying:
"Since it was established 50 years ago, Afenifere has taken little or
no interest in the affairs of million of Muslims of the South West.
Records at our disposal show clearly that Afenifere has used all the
organs at its disposal to rubbish Muslims' existence in the South West
and play down on their interest on education and Sharia."
Since the panel has no legal teeth to enforce its rulings yet,
compliance with its judgements is expected to be voluntary just like
the filing of cases and appearance before it.
Nevertheless, indications are that many Muslims will not only
patronise the Sharia panel but also abide by its judgements. Even as
it is yet to begin sitting, no fewer than 60 cases have been filed
before it so far. As such, fears are being expressed that the
enthusiastic response of Muslims to the panel might lead to congestion
at the Oja-oba venue before other branches are established.
Undoubtedly, huge amount of money would be required to sustain the
operations of the Sharia court. Alhaji Sani explained that some
Muslims in the state, urging more Muslims to take a cue from them, are
currently financing the panel through voluntary donations.
According to the Legal Adviser of the SCSN, Barrister Abdur-Raheem
Adebayo Shittu, all the judges on the panel currently are volunteers
while only the court clerk and registrar are being paid salaries.
Irrespective of its teething problems, the non-governmental Sharia
court initiative is expected to spread to other Yoruba states soon.
According to Sani, independent Sharia panels would also be established
in Osun and Lagos states within the next three months.
The ISIP which was established by the Oyo State branch of the Supreme
Council for Sharia has its jurisdiction limited to Islamic personal
laws bothering on marriage, divorce, inheritance, guardianship of
children born under Islamic marriage, Zakkat administration, debt
repayment, and disputes among Muslims, among others.
According to Sani, the Sharia panel which has its headquarters at the
Oja-Oba central mosque in the heart of Ibadan, would soon have
branches established in certain mosques across the state to facilitate
access to Sharia justice by willing Muslims.
The panel, which is expected to begin sitting next week, consists of
seven judges headed by Alhaji Abdulwahab Adebayo Abdullahi, the
principal of the Institute of Islamic Studies, Elekuro, in Ibadan.
As the non-governmental Sharia court project spreads across the whole
of Yorubaland, the calculations of the Yoruba Muslims are that state
governments in the region would be forced to take over the courts and
enact Sharia laws as was the case in Uganda where the government was
forced to enact Sharia law for its Muslim community after seven years
of operating independent Sharia courts.
Again, the Yoruba Muslims are fervently waiting to play the Sharia
card in the 2003 elections to enhance the quick realisation of
government adoption of the Islamic legal system for Muslims in the
region. Both Sani and Shittu confirmed that official implementation of
Sharia would be made a pre-condition for Muslim votes in Yorubaland in
all elections henceforth.
Muslim analysts in Yoruba consider the non-availability of government
Sharia courts in the whole of the South West as a grave injustice to
the Muslim population there. Their contention is that since state
governments in the area could create the quasi-Christian common law
courts and the pre-pagan customary courts, they have no reason not to
create Sharia courts for the Muslims, more so when the three legal
systems are recognised by the nation's constitution.
Owing to this lacuna, Yoruba Muslims have had to refer purely Islamic
cases involving them to common law customary courts, which are
obviously not positioned to interpret Islamic laws directly. For
instance, the on-going case between an Obafemi Awolowo University
undergraduate, Miss Azeezah Amusa and her parents over the use of
Islamic hijab at an Ile-Ife high court would have been better handled
by a Sharia court were it in existence.
Again, many Yoruba Muslim couples had been forced to contract their
marriages under the common or customary laws either of which negates
Islamic principles because marriage certificates issued by mosques or
Islamic societies for Muslim weddings are not recognised by law in the
South West. In fact, polygamy, which is permissible in Islam, is
considered a criminal offence, which attracts up to five years
imprisonment under the common law.
Whereas the rules of divorce in Islam are quite different from those
under the customary or common law, Yoruba Muslims wishing to divorce
their spouses have had no choice but to resort to these un-Islamic
courts which go counter to Islamic tenets.
In the area of inheritance, beneficiaries of the estate of many
Muslims who died interstate have always been subjected mostly to the
Yoruba traditional Idi-Igi (mother's line) or Ori - Ogori (equal
measures) method of estate sharing contrary to the Islamic method
recommended in Qur'an chapter 4 verses 11, 12, and 176.
The official adoption of Sharia in Yorubaland will undoubtedly reverse
some of these injustices and confer socio-economic benefits on the
Muslims and non-Muslims alike in the region.
For the Yoruba Muslims, the creation of Sharia courts (whether
official or not) in the South West would be tantamount to the recovery
of their lost treasure. For the Islamic legal system had been
practiced in many Yoruba towns before the advent of colonialism in the
According to history, before the colonialists eradicated Sharia in
Yorubaland, there were Sharia courts in Iwo in 1906 during the reign
of Oba Mohammed Lamuye, in Ede in 1913 during the reign of Oba Abeeb
Lagunju, and in Ikirun during the reign of Oba Aliyu Oyewole in 1912.
Epe and Ibadan were also noted for establishing Sharia courts in the
Indeed, the clamour for the official reintroduction of Sharia law in
Yorubaland is not a new phenomenon. The first move in that direction
was said to have been made in 1923 when the Lagos Muslim community
petitioned the colonial administrations for the creation of Sharia
courts following the non-consideration of Islamic divorce rules by a
colonial court which heard a divorce case between one Hawawu Thomas
and her husband.
The Ijebu-ode and Oyo Muslim communities were also said to have
demanded the reintroduction of Sharia from the colonial masters in
1940 and 1944 respectively.
Lately in a petition signed by 29 Imams and Muslim leaders in Oyo
state, the Muslim community there had requested the former military
governor of the state to establish Sharia courts in the state.
Thus, with the creation of a non-governmental Sharia court in Ibadan
to prove their unshakable resolve to have the Islamic law adopted
officially, it is doubtful if this demand of Yoruba Muslims can be
ignored for too long.
Sharia law 'reaches' Nigeria's south
In defiance of the authorities in Oyo State, the Supreme
Council of Sharia says it has carried out a ceremony in Ibadan's
central mosque to inaugurate a panel to rule on civil matters in the
The leaders say the panel will be empowered to decide on matters such
as marriage, divorce and land disputes.
The BBC's Kabiru Yayo in Ibadan says the secretary general of
Nigeria's Supreme Council for Sharia, Alhaj Nachu Baba Ahmed, was
among Muslim leaders from northern Nigeria who attended the Ibadan
He says there have been moves to introduce a less radical form of the
Islamic code in the southern state of Oyo in the past.
But the state authorities have so far refused to allow their
A more radical version of the Islamic code - covering crimes - has
been introduced in a number of states in the mainly Muslim north of
Nigeria over the past two years, provoking much controversy and, in
some cases, violent protests.
The law insists on stoning for adultery, amputation for theft and
flogging for the lesser Islamic crimes of alcohol consumption and sex
Bahrain likely to set up tourism body 03-06-2002
Bahrain attracts thousands of tourists every week particularly
from neighbouring GCC countries [ Bahrain - Dubai - Kuwait - Oman -
Qatar - Saudi Arabia]. The island kingdom has 83 hotels including at
least seven 5-star international names according to Ali Said, Director
of Monitoring Department at the Tourism Directorate.
However, with the growing emphasis on 'family tourism', some of the
island's hotels have been warned by Al Hamer last month to stop
violating laws and regulations set by the Ministry, related in
particular to entertainment shows and hiring illegal foreign dancers.
"These violations do not conform to the Islamic Sharia, or the
traditions and values of the country's society, and are affecting the
reputation of Bahrain and its people," the minister said.
"We seek to develop a clean kind of tourism in this country. We have
been urging hotels and other tourist institutions to come up with
ideas to enhance Bahrain's position as a hospitable place in which
tourists and visitors, singles and families, would have a good time,"
Tourism Directorate's Said told Gulf News recently.
Bahrain becomes base of new International Islamic Financial Market
He pointed out that the major task of the new body was to
create awareness about Sharia-complaint products and issue Islamic
instruments that meet global liquidity requirements of Islamic banks
and financial institutions.
"The volume of investments in the Sharia-compliant products is between
$1.3 trillion and $2 trillion and the market has a huge growth
potential," Majeed said, adding that at present there was a lack of
instruments and investment alternatives, a basic ingredient to broaden
Islamically-designed products are not different from conventional
products, he said. "We are looking forward that conventional
institutions might invest in such products as well."
The IIFM will have an Interna-tional Sharia Committee soon comprising
experts from five Islamic countries: Bahrain, Paki-stan, Saudi Arabia,
Sudan and Malaysia, to discuss, at a very high level, about the
products coming into the market.
The small but growing Islamic finance industry constitutes
around 200 institutions managing $170 billion. Last year, Bahrain
began offering government Islamic bills worth $25 million to help
create investment opportunities. It has also offered five-year Islamic
leasing bonds worth $100 million.
There are around 20 Islamic banks and finance houses in the kingdom
alongside 22 commercial banks and 48 off-shore banking units with
combined assets of more than $100 billion.
Vegetable soups bear 'halal' stamp
Certain vegetable soups and noodles mistakenly and
misleadingly carry the 'Halal' stamp even when they do not contain
meat, poultry or derivatives thereof.
Interestingly, the same company's non-vegetarian flavours bear the
words 'halal slaughtered' in Arabic, as compared with the one word
printed on the vegetarian products.
Mohammed Omar, Deputy Head of Health Department at Sharjah
Municipality, said yesterday only food prepared with meat or poultry
products should carry the 'halal' stamp, to certify the animal was
slaughtered according to Islamic Sharia.
Six jailed for dealing in drugs, stealing
The Sharia Court sentenced six men to different jail terms and
fines in five different cases on charges of stealing and dealing in
Two jailed for impersonation
Two men were handed prison terms by the Ras Al Khaimah Sharia Court
yesterday on charges of impersonating police officers and extortion.
A senior court official said that the two Pakistanis, identified only
as A.Q.M. and S.M.M., were sentenced to two months and 30 lashes and
one month and 30 lashes respectively, to be followed by deportation.
Wife, three children told to pay Dh330,000 compensation
The Ras Al Khaimah Civil Court ordered four members of a
family, on Wednesday, to pay Dh330,000 in compensation to their
business partners, after the Sharia Court found the head of the family
The court gave these orders to the wife and three children of a
Lebanese who was found involved in alleged embezzlement and breaching
the trust of his partners.
Death penalty for rapist commuted
The death sentence passed on a man was yesterday reduced by
the Sharia Appeal Court to 15 years in prison, to be lashed 99 times,
and deported after serving his term.
A senior court official said the verdict against the Indian, S.J.M.,
was final for he had been shown mercy.
He had committed a heinous crime when he raped a 12-year-old national
boy. S.J.M. was sentenced to death on April 14. The official said the
30-year-old man asked the boy to come to his room and help him find a
telephone number because he did not know Arabic.
SAUDI ARABIA (5)
Saudi Arabia sentences Khobar bombing suspects
Number of defendants, penalties not disclosed - June 2, 2002
Saudi Arabia has sentenced some of the people it arrested for
the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing that killed 19 U.S. servicemen and
injured hundreds, the deputy interior minister was quoted as saying
Prince Ahmed, however, did not say how many people were sentenced or
what the sentences were. The verdicts "must be announced at the right
time," the brother of King Fahd said in an interview with newspaper
Ahmed said the suspects in the bombing, except for two or three still
at large, had been sentenced under Islamic law.
"The sentences will go to a higher court, then to the supreme justice
council and then to the king for approval," Prince Ahmed was quoted as
saying. Under Islamic sharia law, all sentences must go through
several stages of ratification.
The kingdom, which follows a strict interpretation of Islamic law,
imposes the death penalty for murder, rape, armed robbery and drug
Khobar bomb suspects sentenced - report - 03.06.2002
Saudi Arabia has tried, convicted and sentenced some suspects
in the 1996 Khobar bombing that killed 19 U.S. servicemen, but the
main suspects are still at large, a Saudi prince says.
"It is known that we arrested some parties, except for two or three
fugitives who are the main suspects. We have not found them," the
deputy interior minister, Prince Ahmad bin Abdul-Aziz, told the Saudi
"The rest have been sentenced under (Islamic) Sharia law, and the
sentences will be announced at a suitable time," he said.
Saudi: Killers of 19 GIs sentenced - NYPost - 2-6-2002
Saudi Arabia sentences Khobar bombing suspects
Number of defendants, penalties not disclosed
Saudi Arabia Sentences People for Attack on U.S. Servicemen
Foxnews - 01 june 2002
Report: Saudis Give Bombing Sentence - June 01, 2002
Prince Says Saudis Sentenced Khobar Bomb Suspects - Jun. 01, 2002
U.N. watchdog Saudi Arabia's flogging, amputation breaches accords
Saudi Arabia is breaking an international accord banning
torture by allowing punishments like flogging and amputation, even
though it ratified the treaty five years ago, a United Nations
watchdog said Friday.
The U.N. Committee against Torture said that such punishments "are not
in conformity with the convention'' and that Saudi Arabia should
The 10-member committee checks on compliance with the 1984 U.N.
Convention against Torture. Like the 129 other nations that have
signed the agreement, Saudi Arabia must submit reports to show it is
applying the rules. It was the first time Saudi Arabia had reported
since it ratified the convention in 1997.
The conservative Muslim kingdom follows a strict interpretation of
Islamic law, or sharia. Courts routinely order lashings and hand
amputations for theft and minor crimes, and public executions for
murder, rape and drug trafficking.
The U.N. convention defines torture as "any act by which severe pain
or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted''
to obtain a confession, to punish an act which the victim ``has
committed or is suspected of having committed,'' or to intimidate the
The convention, however, says also that torture "does not include pain
or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful
Saudi officials told the committee that corporal punishment was an
integral part of sharia law and so could not fall within the
definition set out in the convention.
Abdulwahab Abdulsalam Attar, the kingdom's ambassador to U.N. offices
in Geneva, said that Islamic law was sovereign, and Saudi Arabia
"could not accept any effort to render a sharia-based rule
inoperative, nor could it accept any enactment that conflicted with a
provision of sharia.''
Saudi law banned what the country considered to be torture --
mistreating suspects to extract confessions, for example -- the
Committee chairman Peter Burns told reporters Friday that he did not
want to take a confrontational approach,'' but that there had been a
"conflict of interpretation'' over Saudi Arabia's obligations and he
had ``no doubt'' flogging and amputation constituted torture.
Other Islamic states which have signed the convention did not apply
Islamic law in the same strict way, he said.
The committee also expressed concern that some suspects in Saudi
Arabia were held incommunicado during investigations and denied access
to lawyers and doctors. It said there were too few ways for victims to
complain about abuses.
Examining a report from Russia, the committee welcomed legal reforms
which imposed bans on evidence obtained without a defense lawyer being
present, and other changes meant to protect civilians from abuse by
Russian forces in breakaway Chechnya.
But the committee said it remained concerned about "numerous and
consistent allegations'' that torture was still widely used to extract
confessions. There was a "persistent pattern of impunity for torture
... benefitting both civil and military officials,'' particularly in
The committee called on Russia to give detainees proper access to
lawyers and doctors, establish an independent body to inspect prisons,
and apply properly the law on confession evidence. Russian authorities
also should allow civilian investigators to examine allegations of
abuse by the army in Chechnya, it said.
Criticism by the U.N. body brings no penalties but draws international
attention to a country's record on torture.
Editor in chief of outspoken Saudi paper demoted - 2002-05-07
The chief editor of an outspoken Saudi daily has been demoted
after the paper over the past few weeks reported on corruption and
criticized the religious police, officials said Tuesday.
The officials said the decision to demote al-Ghamdi was made after Al
Watan spearheaded a campaign to uncover corruption in several
government and government-controlled bodies and criticized the
powerful religious police.
In March, Al Watan and other Saudi newspapers launched an
unprecedented attack on members of the religious police -- known as
the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of
Vice, or muttawa -- accusing them of blocking rescue attempts by male
firefighters and paramedics at a girls' school in Mecca, western Saudi
Arabia, which caught fire. Fifteen girls were killed and 50 others
Newspapers said that the firefighters were not allowed in because some
of the girls were not wearing the long dresses and head coverings
required in public under Islamic sharia law. But a government report
on the investigation into the fire described as ``untrue'' reports
that said the muttawa blocked rescue attempts.
Saudi Rules Will Protect Defendants - Source: Record - Bergen County
New regulations designed to open up the Saudi legal system and
protect the rights of defendants and suspects in criminal cases went
into effect Wednesday.
Lawyers in the secretive kingdom hailed the move as a breakthrough in
improving transparency in the Saudi justice system, which is based on
Sharia, or Islamic law, and a frequent target of criticism from
international human rights groups.
Human rights groups have criticized the Gulf kingdom for
arbitrary arrests, detentions, forced confessions, the lack of
defendants rights, and public executions.
First time defendants in criminal cases will know their rights and be
allowed legal representation "all the way from their custody to their
trial," al-Ghamdi said.
Previously lawyers were allowed to represent clients only in civil or
The new regulations include detailed instructions for
authorities in all stages of arrest, interrogation, trial, and
execution of verdicts.
They also ban any physical or mental harm or torture to extract
Iran's simmering discontent - World Policy Journal - 2002-04-01
The hottest flashpoint in Iran today is the courts. Nowhere is
the gulf between the mullahs and Iran's secular elite starker than in
the judiciary, which, like the Council of Guardians, is answerable
only to Khameini. Law students, lawyers, and subordinate judges are
overwhelmingly progressive in their political orientation and study
only the French and Belgian law that forms the basis of Iran's legal
system. The presiding judge, on the other hand, is always a cleric
with expertise in the Shia version of Islamic law, or Sharia, with
which the legal system has been spri\nkled since the Revolution. The
rulings of this judicial platypus would be comical, if they did not
have such an impact on peoples' lives.
The following judgments, rendered recently in Iran's criminal courts,
illustrate the mullahs' perspective and competence. A boy was
sentenced to three months in prison for allegedly making flirtatious
faces at a girl while she was walking along the street with her
father. What was remarkable about the case is that he was across the
street when he committed the offense, for which the court coined a
special term that translates as "teleflirting." Various sections of
Iran's statute books are color-coded, with the criminal statues
colored red. In one recent judgment, the clerical magistrate found a
defendant guilty based not on any particular law, but on the "red
pages." In another case, a convicted man was sentenced to imprisonment
"until one week before the reappearance of the Mahdi," in other words,
"till Kingdom comes."
This past winter, the courts' anti-reform campaign has become even
more overtly hostile to the reformists. Early last December, an
appeals court imposed a sevenmonth prison sentence on Mohammad Dadfar,
a prominent reformist member of parliament who had made a speech
criticizing the courts. That same month, a special court dealing with
press offences concluded its prosecution of several leaders of Iran's
most prominent left-wing party, the Islamic Revolution Mujahedin
Organization (IMRO). Its secretary general, the deputy minister for
labor, was sentenced to 26 months in prison, while the party's weekly
newspaper, Asr-e Ma, joined the list of 60- odd publications that have
been banned since the reformists won control of the Majlis in general
elections in the spring of 2000. Another senior IMRO official and
Khatami confidant, Behzad Nabavi, is under investigation for alleged
misuse of funds as head of Petro Pars, a quasi-state oil company.
Other Khatami allies, including his cabinet secretary, who is the
former governor of Kurdestan, the head of the Petroleum Ministry, and
the governor of the Central Bank have also been targeted.
The judiciary ratcheted up the pressure still further just after
Christmas when the courts took the unprecedented step of imprisoning a
member of parliament, Hossein Loqmanian. (Dadfar has been sentenced
but not yet actually imprisoned.) Loqmanian, a pro-reform member of
Parliament, was sentenced to ten months in prison for libeling and
slandering the judiciary. In a speech before Parliament last year,
Loqmanian expressed the commonly held belief among MPs that the courts
are "decapitating freedom and attempting to threaten and intimidate
Parliament." He also denounced the imprisonment of Ezatollah Sahibi,
an esteemed veteran activist who has languished behind bars for months
without trial, charged with a host of counterrevolutionary offenses. A
third MP, Fatemah Haqiqatjou, also faces charges of defaming the
courts. Tehran's top judge, Abbas Ali Alizadeh, has said Parliament
has no right to interfere in judicial affairs. "Why do you raise
questions about legal proceedings for the sake of a bunch of so-called
reformers and newspapers?" he asked, adding that the media had a duty
not to publish articles "that might weaken or insult the judiciary.""
Loqmanian's incarceration caused an uproar in Parliament. One MP
labeled it "a mini-coup," and some called for a national referendum on
the separation of powers, the most direct challenge to date by elected
officials to the clerics' political dominion. Two weeks after
Loqmanian went to Tehran's Evin prison, Khameini belatedly defused the
confrontation by granting him a pardon.
Legal constraints to political reform in Iran - Journal of Third World
Studies - Publication date: 2002-04-01
Punishment And Legal Remedies
As was mentioned earlier, the shari'a, or Islamic law, is
considered the supreme law over everybody and that the government
"cannot change the law to suit the ever changing socio-economic
climate."7 This is especially true in the area of criminal law where
punishment for certain categories of crime is nonnegotiable. Also, the
supremacy and permanency of all Islamic and judicial organs connotes
an important principle of the Islamic government: legislative and
judicial organs of the state should not originate any laws. Their
purpose is simply to codify and apply the shari'a. This implies that
in cases of conflict between societal changes and the requirements of
Islamic law, the law is not to be interpreted in such a way as to meet
such societal changes. Rather, it is the society that needs to adapt
itself to the requirements of the sharia.8 As Joseph Schacht has
noted, the rules of the shari'a become valid "by virtue of their
existence and not [necessarily] because of their rationality."9
Notwithstanding the above, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, during his
tenure as the faqih, had recognized the necessity of flexibility in
the shari'a according to the needs of the society and changing
circumstances of the Islamic state in Iran. Khomeini even ruled that
if the interests (mas/ahat) of the state required it, it would be
justified to disregard the shari'a.10
The concept of criminal law in Iran differs from the notion of common
law or other types of Western legal systems not just because it is
religiously derived but because in many instances the subject of the
law is the victim's family. For example, murder is viewed not as an
offense against society, as is the case in Western societies, but as a
crime against the victim's family. The punishment for murder,
therefore, is designed to not only deter crime but to "compensate" the
family of the victim. Hence, retribution and "blood money" have been
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